SXSW Apologizes For Making Attendee Remove Hijab

Peter Helman | March 13, 2016 - 11:52 am

Oof, this is bad. According to The Hollywood Reporter, SXSW got into trouble yesterday when Ibtihaj Muhammad, a member of the USA Fencing World Team who was attending the fest to participate in a panel called Sports As Currency Of American Life, was asked to remove her hijab for an ID photo during registration. The registration worker insisted she take it off even after she explained that she wears the headscarf for religious reasons, and then, to add insult to injury, she was given the wrong ID badge:

SXSW has since issued an apology for the incident, saying, “It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge. This was one volunteer who made an insensitive request and that person has been removed for the duration of the event. We are embarrassed by this and have apologized to Ibtihaj in person, and sincerely regret this incident.”

“I had a crappy experience checking in,” Muhammad told the audience during her panel afterwards, as The Chicago Tribune reports. “Someone asking me to remove my hijab isn’t out of the norm for me. … Do I hope it changes soon? Yes, every day.”

This summer, Muhammad is expected to become the first hijab-wearing woman to represent the United States in the Olympics.

Tags: SXSW, sxsw2016